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Is/was it an Indonesian tradition or custom to drink your victims' blood?

Is/was it an Indonesian tradition or custom to drink your victims' blood?

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In Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence (2014) (sequel to The Act of Killing [2012]), at least two of the killers speak (rather casually and openly) about drinking the blood of victims. They said it was in order not to go crazy and there was a suggestion that this gave them strength. (I believe these events all take place in Aceh in North Sumatra.)

Is this a "common" Indonesian tradition or custom? Or was this practice peculiar to the events of the mid 1960s?

Googling, I find The Economist reporting on the Sampit conflict circa 2001 that among the Dayaks on Borneo:

according to tradition, once at war he [a Dayak] must kill someone and drink the victim's blood.

This LA Times article by Richard C. Paddock (currently at the New York Times) attests that the practice was revived around the turn of the Millenium. Dayak tribespeople, upset with their treatment by Madurese settlers, revived their century dormant headhunting traditions (my emphasis):

Before their killing rampage ebbed, the Dayaks had slaughtered nearly 500 Madurese, according to the Indonesian government. Dayak leaders say their warriors killed 2,000. Hundreds were beheaded in towns, villages and the jungle as they tried to flee. Headless corpses with their hearts ripped out could be seen along the roadside.

Some of the modern-day headhunters followed the ancient rituals of drinking the blood and eating the hearts of the people they killed to subdue their victims' spirits and absorb their magic.

So we have this ritual practice (headhunting) occurring roughly between 1997 and 2001, with claims of several hundred Madurese settlers as victims. At least two reputable journalists report that at least some of the Dayak warriors drank their victims' blood, though the precise meaning of that ritual varies between the two accounts.

12 Captivating Coming of Age Ceremonies From Around the World

See how young women in Indonesia, Ghana, the Philippines, and more countries get inducted into adulthood.

Growing up, in a traditional sense, used to mean passing certain milestones: getting married, buying a house, having a kid. For the next little while&ndashwhat is time, anyway?&ndashwe're saying goodbye to all that. We're looking at aging from all different perspectives: why it matters, why it doesn't, what it even means to feel like an adult in the current moment when many of us, in the immortal words of Britney, consider ourselves not a girl and not yet a woman.

When do you really become an adult? When you can legally drive? When you first move away from home? When you finally find your signature haircut (just us)? It's different for everyone, but one way cultures around the world have signified official adulthood is through symbolic coming of age ceremonies. From 15-year-old girls in Latin America donning ball gowns and getting blessed in church to 20-year-old Japanese girls dressing up in elaborate traditional garb to get recognized by city officials, the rituals vary drastically but share one thing in common: a turning point. Here, see photos of 12 global practices welcoming girls to womanhood.

The Sweet 16 is commonly celebrated in the U.S. and Canada on a girl's 16th birthday. There is no standardized ceremony, but it often involves throwing a wedding reception-type party at a dance hall with family and friends. If you've ever watched MTV's My Super Sweet 16 , you'll know this event can get really lavish&ndashnew car, anyone?

Mepandes is a teeth-filling ceremony that takes place in Bali, Indonesia. It involves removing the sharp edges of canine teeth and filling the front six teeth flat to symbolically rid one of negativity like lust, greed, anger, and jealousy. The procedure can only be performed on girls who've had their first period.

Ji Li is the Confucian coming of age ceremony for Han women that has seen a resurgence in recent years. The young women, usually 15 - 20 years old, dress in traditional Chinese clothing and participate in a hairpin ceremony in which her hair gets washed, combed, and put into an updo with pins made of gold, jade, or wood.

In Ghana, the Krobo group introduces women to adulthood with the two-day Dipo ceremony. Young women, all virgins, get paraded around the community as Dipo-yi, or initiates. They are given a ritual bath, eat sugar cane, drink a cocktail (made of millet beer, palm wine, and schnapps), and their feet are "washed" with slaughtered goats' blood. After these practices, the women leave their village to live in confinement for a week where they are taught about childbirth, cooking, housekeeping, and what they consider being a good wife. They then return to the community and perform the "klama" dance half-clothed and adorned with beads and body paint.

The second Monday in January marks Japan's official Coming of Age Day. It's celebrated annually by men and women who've turned 20 the year prior and involves ceremonies hosted by local government offices recognizing the celebrants as official adults able to drink, smoke, gamble, and drive. Participating women typically wear long-sleeved kimonos with fur and, after visiting shrines, celebrate in a party with family and friends.

In South Dakota's Yankton Sioux/Ihanktonwan Oyate Reservation, girls who've had their first period go through a four-day ceremony. The group of girls raise up a teepee in where they will live together throughout the festivities. They cannot touch food or drink and must, instead, be fed by mothers and other women in the "moon camp." Activities throughout the four days include gathering herbs, fruits, and wildflowers, learning how to make ceremonial food like dried buffalo beef jerky, being bathed in sage water, getting taught ceremonial songs and beading techniques, and listening to elders give serious talks about sex, relationships, and mental health.

Among the Tamil population in Sri Lanka, girls are considered women once they've had their first period. On the first day of her menstruation cycle, the girl gets bathed by close relatives, is kept in isolation, and fed a big meal. After isolation, she takes another bath and dons heavy makeup, dresses in a sari, and piles on layers of jewelry to signify womanhood. Friends and family gather for a celebration and offer gifts to the young woman.

The quinceañera, celebrated in Mexico, Argentina, and across many other Latin American countries, is celebrated by girls who turn 15 years old. It begins in the church with a blessing, then transitions to a dance party with loved ones. Some other parts of the ceremony include having a court of 14 friends, giving away a porcelain doll to a younger sister, and changing from flats to high heels to represent entering adulthood.

Every third Monday of May, Korean men and women around 20 years old celebrate en masse for Gwan Rye. Women entering adulthood traditionally wear an ornamental hairpin and a hanbok, the national costume, and receive three symbolic gifts: perfume, roses, and a kiss.

The Apache tribe, a Native American group based in the southwest United States, has a coming of age ceremony that takes place over four days. The Sunrise Ceremony, or Na'ii'ees, is reserved for girls who've had their first period and has them partake in a series of activities in which she's believed to embody the Changing Woman, the primary deity among the Apache. Prior to the actual ritual, she participates in six months of teaching. The ceremony includes dancing for hours, running, chanting, praying, and having paint (a mix of clay and cornmeal) covering her face for the duration of the ceremony. At the end she "blesses" and "heals" fellow members of her tribe.

Filipinos celebrate a girl's 18th birthday with a debut (pronounced de-boo), a big party with family and friends akin to a Sweet 16 or quinceanera. Traditionally, celebrants will also have a cotillion with 18 people (9 couples) to perform choreographed dance numbers that often take months to practice.

In Mali, Fulani women are ushered into womanhood by practicing "Tchoodi," or getting facial tattoos. The ritual has young girls getting their lip area tattooed with black as a sign of cultural identity and beauty (the idea is to look more attractive to a prospective husband). As the young girl endures the pain of being tattooed, women from the village gather around to watch, singing, clapping, chanting, and beating drums throughout the process.

Scottish Marriage Customs

Marriage customs in Scotland are numerous and diverse. In this post we look at a handful of them, including a few which have evolved over centuries and one or two which are no longer practised.

In Gaelic-speaking communities, a còrdadh (agreement) would be made between the bride and groom a few weeks before the wedding. This would take place in the house of the bride’s father.

Friends of the bride and groom would also be in attendance and a series of ‘false brides’ would be brought in with humorous results, especially when they included married or elderly women. Food, drink and laughter would be in plentiful supply.

Flora at a còrdadh

In this recording, Flora MacCuish from the island of Berneray discusses a còrdadh she attended as a young woman in the 1920s. At the event, a friend of the groom pretended that he was looking for a wife or a servant for a certain man. The bride’s friends were each brought out and the groom rejected them all as unsuitable, until the bride herself appeared.

The rèiteach

The rèiteach (betrothal ceremony) would then take place a week or two before the wedding. This was an informal gathering where the father of the bride-to-be was asked to give consent for his daughter to marry.

In some areas, a friend of the groom would ask for the bride’s hand in marriage on behalf on the groom but the bride would be referred to as something else. This ‘thing’ often related to the bride’s family’s trade.

If she was from a crofting family, she might be referred to as a lamb. The groom’s friend would promise to take care of the lamb and look after it well. This would all be done in a very good-natured way. After the bride’s father consented to the union, food would be served and this would be followed by singing and dancing until the early hours of the next morning.
In this recording Peter Morrison recalls how the ‘rèiteach’ was usually held a week before a wedding on the island of Grimsay in North Uist. It would be held in the bride’s home and there would be plenty of food, drink and entertainment, including witty speeches. The celebrations would last all night, until the sun rose.

From Foot to Soot

Another custom undertaken prior to the wedding was feet-washing. Friends of the bride would wash her feet in a tender manner in a symbolic act of cleansing.

Treatment of the groom was much rougher. His feet were covered in soot and feathers. Soot represented hearth and home and was thought to be lucky.

Over time, this tradition evolved to include the application of other substances, such as:

It was no longer just the feet which were blackened. The groom (and sometimes the bride!) would be covered from head to foot in all sorts of difficult-to-remove substances.

This custom became known as ‘blackening’ and is still fairly common in rural parts of Scotland. Once the couple have been captured and blackened, they are paraded through the streets for all to see.

In this recording, John Mitchell recalls the custom of foot blackening in rural Stirlingshire.

The Wedding Scramble

The wedding scramble/scammle/scatter was a common occurrence in many parts of Scotland. The best man or bridegroom would shower children with coppers and silver as the bridal party left the church after the marriage ceremony. On occasion, the father of the bride would also shower children with money as he and the bride-to-be left home to travel to the church.

Weddings could therefore a very lucrative affair for the local children, who would spend their spoils on sweets and fizzy drinks. In some areas the children would shout ‘Poor oot [Pour out] ye dirty brute, ye canna spare a ha’penny’ in order to encourage the best man or groom to fulfil their duty. The custom was believed to bring good fortune to the married couple.

Alice Maud Hailstone describes scrambles which would take place at weddings in Fintry and what the children would shout.

Here comes the bridescake

Wedding cakes are a common feature of Scottish weddings today but in earlier times there would be a ‘bridescake’. This would be made by the bride’s mother and was often made of scone or shortbread. A portion of the cake would be broken over the bride’s head and it signified a fruitful marriage if it broke into small pieces.

Margaret Tait and Ertie Irvine discuss how this custom was carried out in Shetland and what the people would do with the fragments of cake.

As with other cultures, food and drink were central to marriage celebrations in Scotland. In rural areas, wedding celebrations were often held at home or in outbuildings and the couple’s family, with help from friends and neighbours, could spend weeks preparing and cooking the wedding feast.

Ethel Findlater discusses the preparations undertaken for farm weddings in Orkney and the celebrations on the wedding day itself.

Thanks to Elsie Maclean, Tobar an Dualchais, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye for this post. All recordings © School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh.


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Norway: The Sound From Little Charms

Katherine Rose Photography

One Norwegian tradition states that the bride will wear an ornate silver and gold crown that has small charms dangling all around it. When she moves, the tinkling sound is supposed to deflect evil spirits.

13. Love Huts For Sex

Parenting styles are unique in different countries and cultures. In fact, religion, tradition, and education play a dominant role in shaping one’s perception about parenting. In a tribe called Kreung, the parenting style is redefined, but not in a socially acceptable manner. This Cambodian tribe leads a relatively simple life. Food, shelter, love and sex, nothing else. In order to provide young girls with a thorough sex education, they implement an interesting concept known as a “Love Hut.” Fathers build a bamboo hut for their young girls who are in the age group of 13 to 15. In the Love Hut young girls can spend private time with random guys from their tribe. According to Kreung folk, premarital sex helps girls find a right match for them. A girl can have more than one guy at a time in her Love Hut. If she likes anyone, she can tie a wedding knot after consulting with her parents!

1999 until now.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago comprised of some 13,700 islands spread over 1,475,000 square kilometers. It is also the fifth most populated country on earth, with 220 million people, and the third largest democracy in the world -- trailing only India and the U.S. 1

Indonesia has about 210 million people of whom about 90% are Muslim. In fact it has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world.

There are many Christian enclaves in the country. Indonesia had been noted for its relatively high level of religious tolerance, until recent years when many conflicts between Muslims and Christians have occurred. Violence was particularly intense in the Maluku islands (a.k.a. Moluccas or Spice islands) a chain of 17 islands about 250 miles west of New Guinea.

At the end of the 20th century. Indonesians suffered massive violence at the hands of fellow Indonesians. These were generally motivated by religious hatred -- largely between Muslims and Christians.

Unfortunately, once started, such attacks tend to be self-sustaining as former victims retaliate against former attackers with the latter becoming the new victims who plot new retaliation.

1998: Conflict in the Poso district:

The Poso district is in central Sulawesi, about 1,000 miles northeast of Jakarta. Christians originally settled the district. Muslim immigrants have since arrived. Christians still retain a slight majority in that area.

A dispute started between Muslims and Christians over the control of the local government in late 1998. It rapidly escalated into widespread clashes between the two religious groups. Hundreds died.

According to Foreign Affairs magazine, in 2000-MAY, 70 Muslims who had surrendered at a school were murdered in cold blood by Christians wielding homemade guns and machetes. Christians later hunted down other Muslims, slashed their throats, and tossed their bodies into rivers. Others were strung up on homemade wire nooses.

In early 2001, the Laskar Jihad, a terrorist radical extremist Muslim group, established a training camp near Jakarta. They claim to be a militia whose purposes are to defend Muslims, engage in social work, and teach religion. However, the Indonesian government has stated that the:

"Laskar Jihad is trying to seize territory from Christians. Lt. Gen. Abdullah Hendropriyono, head of the national intelligence service, was quoted. as saying that Laskar Jihad fighters were receiving aid from the al Qaeda network" 2

The latter is the group that organized the terrorist attack on New York City and Washington. There are allegations that Jihad has had "informal links" with Indonesian military officers.

In 2001-OCT, Laskar Jihad "holy warriors" arrived in Poso. Between NOV-27 and 29, they had seized five villages and killed five Christians. More than 8,000 Christians were displaced from their homes.

Sponsored link:

1999 to 2000: Other instances of violence -- :

More than 30 people were killed in further rioting in the troubled Indonesian province of Ambon. According to witnesses, many died at the hands of Indonesian troops who were taking an active role in the rioting.

About 20 of the dead were Christians and 10 were Muslims, according to a report from a British human rights group Jubilee Campaign. An Indonesian military spokesman insisted that armed forces intervened only to pacify the area, identifying the dead as 20 Muslims and 12 Christians. Witness accounts, however, including a local reporter quoted in the Italian newspaper Avvenire, say many of the dead were deliberately gunned down by army soldiers as fresh violence erupted between Christian and Muslim communities. More than 70 people were being treated for their injuries in hospitals.

Some observers claim the riots were started deliberately by militants intent on Islamizing the province. They include factions in the armed forces. In a statement, Jubilee Campaign says that

The Moluccas islands are also known as the Malukus and Spice islands.

"Be aware that the vast majority of people in Indonesia do not support the terror and violence that has been going on. We should be careful with any criticism not to label or blame ordinary Indonesians. Many Indonesians have actually fought with courage and integrity to bring about change in their country. They have also stood in solidarity with the people of East Timor."

"Harming innocent Christians is a sin, Indonesian Muslim leaders said, rejecting demands for a holy war. Thousands of Muslim protesters are demanding jihad [struggle] against Christians in response for Muslim deaths in the Moluccas (a.k.a. Maluku) islands. Some 1,500 Christians and Muslims have been killed in the past two weeks, news reports said. . 'I reject jihad if it means to collect thousands of people to gather around and cry out expressions of hate to take revenge,' Muslim cleric Umar Shihab said. He is co-chairman of the Indonesian Ulemas Council, Islam's top official body in the country. War that is conducted in revenge is a sin, Shihab said. President Abdurrahman Wahid, also a Muslim scholar, also rejected the calls for jihad. A jihad against those who provoke violence against Muslims is allowable, and people who are fomenting the violence should be restrained, Shihab said."

"Hundreds of Muslims have died, some in mosques, in religious violence in the Moluccas (a.k.a. Malukus) islands. Scores of charred corpses reportedly were recovered from burned-out mosques on the chain of islands 1,550 miles northeast of Jakarta,
Indonesia, CNN said. 'It's very difficult to count the bodies,' which were 'torched and burned by unidentified people,' said Mursal Amal Tomagola of Medical Emergency, an aid group. Authorities believe nearly 1,000 people have died in the past two weeks after a Christian bus driver accidentally killed a Muslim boy. At least 1,500 have died in similar outbursts of violence since last January, CNN said. The Moluccas are traditionally Christian. "

"In a historic gesture, the president of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid has apologized for violence carried out by Indonesian troops during the 24-year occupation of East Timor, specifically referring to the victims of the Santa Cruz cemetery massacre in 1991, when Indonesian troops opened fire on civilians on a funeral march."

"The most deadly attack came on the same day that provincial leaders were planning ways to stop bloodshed during the upcoming religious holiday season, when sectarian attacks often are sparked."

During the latter third of 2001-FEB, inter-religious rioting resulted in the deaths of at least 428 people. Aid workers estimate that up to 1,000 may have been killed. For many days, about 2,000 Madurese hid in the jungle most were without food or water. Roving gangs of Dyaks slaughtered many of them on sight. The government was able to negotiate with the Dyaks to allow the Madurese to be evacuated to safety. Having received a government guarantee of protection, many Madurese came out of the jungle. But the Dyak Christians broke their promise and trucked 118 Madurese to a local soccer field. Six Muslims were beheaded. Others, including the elderly, women and babies, had their limbs chopped off and stomachs slashed open. None survived.

"Black-masked assailants armed with guns, grenades and daggers stormed a village in Indonesia's religiously divided Maluku province Sunday, killing 14 Christians in a brutal pre-dawn attack that threatened a fragile peace pact. Shouting 'kill them all,' a dozen men entered the mostly Christian village of Soya on the outskirts of Ambon, the provincial capital and the focus of three years of sectarian violence that killed 9,000 people, witnesses said." 3

2002-OCT-16: Maluku province: A peace pact has been signed between Christians and Muslims. Jafar Umar Thalib, leader of the Laskar Jihad group, has decided to disband his group and to pull all 3,000 of his Muslim fighters out of the Malaku province. 4


Religion & Beliefs

  • South Korea supports religious freedom
  • Confucianism, Buddhism and Christianity are the main formal religions
  • Many Koreans believe in the ancestral spirit and observe Confucian rituals
  • Confucianism is a political and social philosophy that pervades Korean culture

Major Celebrations/Secular Celebrations

  • There are two main national holidays
  • New Year’s Day (second full moon after winter solstice)
  • Chuseok (the eighth full moon)
  • Celebrations for these festivals are based around ancestors, family, games, harvest festivals and food.

The Family

  • The family unit is an integral part of customs and life in South Korea
  • Arranged marriages are common
  • Marriage is regarded as a rite of passage
  • Divorce was rare but has become more common in recent years
  • Patriarchal lineage is ubiquitous and links ancestors through the husband’s line
  • Traditionally, the eldest son inherited, however, this has recently altered and is now equal by law
  • The eldest son bears extra responsibility to his family and it is supposed that he will care for his parents in their old age

Social Stratification

  • Since the Kabo Reforms of 1894 there has been no traditional gentry
  • 60% of Koreans considered themselves to be middle class
  • Class position is often linked to educational attainment
  • Industrialisation and urbanisation contribute to class difference
  • Family, upbringing, wealth, education and occupation contribute to social standing
  • Symbols of status include large homes, chauffeur driven cars, dress, membership to certain clubs, and higher educational degrees
  • Urbanisation is 82.5% of total population (2015)
  • Language is hierarchical and one must address social superiors in a fitting manner

Gender Roles

  • Equality of the sexes is constitutional
  • Daily life is dominated by male guidance within a primarily patriarchal society
  • Social organisation is influenced by gender and age
  • 47.7% of adult females worked outside the home (1998)
  • Women occupied 2.3% of provincial and local seats in (1999)
  • Women dominate Shamanism as priestesses but have limited roles within Christian and Buddhist religions
  • Women are expected to be submissive in public situations and at informal gatherings
  • Women are considered more independent than their male counterparts


  • Daily care of infants is primarily parent based for at least the first two years with little, or no, separation from the mother
  • Patriarchal obedience, cooperation, respect for elders, and familial piety are imbued into early childhood
  • Gender specific roles are encouraged within the family and education system
  • Sons generally receive the best education and remain more dependent upon their family, even into marriage

The Economy

  • South Korea changed from an underdeveloped country, to the 11th largest economy globally, within one generation
  • South Korea is heavily dependent upon exports for its GDP almost half of its business is exported through products or services
  • 48% of all exports are electronic
  • 31% of exports are transport related (cars, boats, etc)

  • Korean cuisine is based on rice, vegetables and meat
  • ‘Kimchi’ is the national dish and is eaten with most meals
  • Kimchi is made from a variety of vegetables which are then fermented and can be stored for long periods of time
  • Banchan are side dishes – these are often made in large numbers and are served along with the main dish
  • Food is used in ceremonies, especially at weddings, birthdays and to honour ancestors

Arts, Humanities & Popular Culture

  • Historically, Chinese and Japanese influences were seen in South Korean art aesthetic concepts and motifs were shared
  • Korean music and arts were linked to natural cycles and religion, giving rise to a folk culture in rural areas that are still considered popular
  • ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy, a South Korean musician, achieved worldwide fame in 2012. The song refers to the Gangnam District of Seoul, a trendy, classy area, equated with London, Paris or Hollywood
  • Foreign influences have produced a fast food and coffee culture in recent years, especially within Seoul
  • Language has altered with the introduction of some Western phrases such as ‘eye shopping’ (window shopping)

[Ladies at a Kimchi competition in Seoul show off their personal recipes]


The crossroads -- any place where two roads cross -- is both an area where certain spells (called crossroads rituals) are performed and it is also a neutral ground where remnant objects and their influences can be carried away safely and dispersed by passersby. Crossroads disposal is easy to perform: you simply throw the materials into the center of the crossroads over your left shoulder, walk away, and don't look back. Words spoken, if any, are brief and related to the job at hand -- often a simple "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" suffices.

The crossroads is the preferred place to throw your used bath-water after the ritual cleansing preparatory to beginning work on a complex spell: Most folks throw their bath-water -- or a small and symbolic portion thereof -- to the East at a crossroads just before sunrise, in which case the disposal amounts to a form of ceremonial offering, especially if an invocation is made to "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." (Alternatively, bath-water may be thrown to the East at sunrise in your own yard, but this is most common when the entire job consists of personal cleansing or clearing away messes in the home.)

Crossroads disposal is also used for throwing out the remains of candle wax, ashes from burned out incense, and remnant powders left over from any spell that was negative in intent or did not involve you personally. It is the safely neutral alternative to disposing of such items in your home yard or in a graveyard. The one remnant from a positive spell that is customarily carried to a crossroad and thrown into it is a whole raw egg used in a rite of personal cleansing. Because the egg contains all the negative influences that were removed from the subject of the spell, it should not be buried in the front yard breaking it at a crossroads allows the bad forces to dissipate harmlessly among passing strangers. (Alternatively, the egg may be broken by throwing it against a tree , which then absorbs the negativity.)

When working a spell to separate two people, one traditional method of disposal is to toss the ashes and leftover material into a crossroads. After doing so, it is customary to say something along the lines of, "As the people and cars drive through these crossed roads scattering dust in every direction, so let the connection between Name and Name be broken and scattered to the four corners of the world."

Crossroads disposal can also be used to increase the harshness of a reversing spell performed with a double action or reversible jumbo candle dressed with Reversing Oil and crab shell powder and burned on a mirror. Instead of cleansing and keeping the mirror after the work is finished, start with a plain mirror that you do not mind destroying. On the back side of the mirror, write the name of the person against whom you are working, lettering it backwards (in reverse lettering, just like you see on the label of the Reversing Oil we sell to dress the double action or reversible jumbo candle). Dress and prepare the candle the usual way, by butting the light, dressing it, and burning it upside down.

Then, when you are done with the candle, get a hammer and pick up the mirror, with all the left-over crab shell powder and wax on it, and take it to a crossroads at night. Place it in the middle of the crossroads upside down (with the reverse-written name up) and call 7 years bad luck onto the person and smash the mirror with the hammer. Walk away and don't look back.

Note that when you break the mirror you should be careful to avoid flying glass and also note that this form of disposal should be done at a place where you will not get caught doing it, as you are creating a bit of a broken glass hazard in the middle of the crossroads.

Disposal at a series of crossroads can also be used to seal or fix a trick. For instance, if the intention of the spell is specifically to get someone to leave town or leave you alone, you can divide the materials you used (e.g. 9 needles used in a spell and 9 pieces of wax from a candle) into 9 packets and add Hot Foot Powder (or Drive Away Powder) to each packet. Start at a crossroads near to where the person you are tricking lives and throw out the first packet. Then go in a direction away from their home, toward where you want them to move, and drop a packet at each crossroads you pass until all 9 packets are gone. In the country this might carry you several miles. In the city it would only be 9 blocks, so city folks generally only count major intersections (with a stop-light) when they do this, or they may count freeway interchanges to get some distance worked up between the packets.

Nine Nights Ritual

Although many Jamaican death rituals are dying out nowadays, the ‘Nine Nights’ ritual is still going strong – it’s an extended wake that lasts nine days and traditionally involves music, anecdotes, lots of food, and plenty of rum. Friends and relatives will meet and celebrate the life of the person who has passed, and the gatherings are normally very lively and fun. Traditionally, the person will be buried after the ninth night, once the celebrations have finished.

The Nine Nights ritual was traditionally practised to ensure the dead person’s ‘duppy’ did not come back to haunt the living. A duppy is one of two souls that a person has. After death, one of the souls goes up to heaven and the other stays on earth. As duppies are capable of doing both good and evil, many rituals on the island arose as a way to appease these spirits.


Creatures with vampiric characteristics have appeared at least as far back as ancient Greece, where stories were told of creatures that attacked people in their sleep and drained their bodily fluids. Tales of walking corpses that drank the blood of the living and spread plague flourished in medieval Europe in times of disease, and people lacking a modern understanding of infectious disease came to believe that those who became vampires preyed first upon their own families. Research from the 20th and 21st centuries has posited that characteristics associated with vampires can be traced back to certain diseases such as porphyria, which makes one sensitive to sunlight tuberculosis, which causes wasting pellagra, a disease that thins the skin and rabies, which causes biting and general sensitivities that could lead to repulsion by light or garlic.

Vampire myths were especially popular in eastern Europe, and the word vampire most likely originates from that region. Digging up the bodies of suspected vampires was practiced in many cultures throughout Europe, and it is thought that the natural characteristics of decomposition—such as receding gums and the appearance of growing hair and fingernails—reinforced the belief that corpses were in fact continuing some manner of life after death. Also possibly contributing to this belief was the pronouncement of death for people who were not dead. Because of the constraints of medical diagnosis at the time, people who were very ill, or sometimes even very drunk, and in a coma or in shock were thought dead and later “miraculously” recovered—sometimes too late to prevent their burial. Belief in vampires led to such rituals as staking corpses through the heart before they were buried. In some cultures the dead were buried facedown to prevent them from finding their way out of their graves.

The modern incarnation of vampire myth seems to have stemmed largely from Gothic European literature of the 18th and 19th centuries, about the time vampire hysteria was peaking in Europe. Vampiric figures appeared in 18th-century poetry, such as Heinrich August Ossenfelder’s “Der Vampyr” (1748), about a seemingly vampiric narrator who seduces an innocent maiden. Vampire poems began appearing in English about the turn of the 19th century, such as John Stagg’s “The Vampyre” (1810) and Lord Byron’s The Giaour (1813). The first prose vampire story published in English is believed to be John Polidori’s “ The Vampyre” (1819), about a mysterious aristocrat named Lord Ruthven who seduces young women only to drain their blood and disappear. Those works and others inspired subsequent material for the stage. Later important vampire stories include the serial Varney, the Vampire or, The Feast of Blood (1845–47) and “The Mysterious Stranger” (1853), which are cited as possible early influences for Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), and Théophile Gautier’s “La Morte amoureuse” (1836 “The Dead Lover”) and Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1871–72), which established the vampire femme fatale.

Dracula is arguably the most important work of vampire fiction. The tale of the Transylvanian count who uses supernatural abilities, including mind control and shape-shifting, to prey upon innocent victims inspired countless works thereafter. Many popular vampire characteristics—such as methods of survival and destruction, vampires as aristocracy, and even vampires being of eastern European origin—were solidified in this popular novel and especially through its 1931 film adaptation starring Hungarian-born actor Bela Lugosi. The novel itself is thought by some to have been inspired in part by the cruel acts of the 15th-century prince Vlad III Dracula of Transylvania, also known as “the Impaler,” and Countess Elizabeth Báthory, who was believed to have murdered dozens of young women during the 16th and 17th centuries in order to bathe in or possibly drink their blood so as to preserve her own vitality.

Dracula in turn inspired the film Nosferatu (1922), in which a vampire was first depicted as being vulnerable to sunlight. Other aspects of the movie, however, were so similar to Stoker’s novel that his widow sued for copyright infringement, and many copies of the film were subsequently destroyed. For several decades the vast majority of vampire fiction, whether on page or stage or screen, showed the influence of Dracula. Both the novel and its film version spawned several direct sequels and spin-offs, including the film Dracula’s Daughter (1936) and a number of Hammer films, including Dracula (1958 also known as Horror of Dracula), which starred Christopher Lee in the title role. Vampires became popular characters in pulp magazines and appeared in stories such as the Sherlock Holmes tale “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire” (1924). In 2009 the original author’s great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt published a sequel called Dracula: The Un-Dead using notes and excisions from Dracula.

In the 20th century vampires began to turn from being depicted as predominantly animalistic creatures and instead displayed a broader range of human characteristics. Ray Bradbury explored the sympathetic portrayal of what can be thought of as “monsters,” including vampires, in “ Homecoming” (1946), a story about a “normal” boy with a family of fantastical creatures. The popular American television soap opera Dark Shadows (1966–71) featured a lovelorn vampire, Barnabas Collins. In 1975 Fred Saberhagen published The Dracula Tape, a retelling of Stoker’s story from the misunderstood villain’s point of view. Vampire fiction entered a new era, however, with the sympathetic portrayal by Anne Rice in her novel Interview with the Vampire (1976). Rice’s book introduced the world to vampires that were brooding and self-loathing and squabbled like humans. While Rice’s vampires were more vulnerable emotionally than vampires previously had been, they were less vulnerable physically—susceptible only to daylight and fire and the death of the first of their kind—and possessed superhuman beauty, speed, and senses. Interview with the Vampire was highly popular and sparked a revival of vampire fiction that lasted into the 21st century, and subsequent vampire stories continued to use characteristics established by Rice. Rice herself wrote several more books in what subsequently became known as the Vampire Chronicles, some of which were later adapted for film.

The vampire as a misunderstood romantic hero picked up steam in the later part of the 20th century, particularly in the United States. In 1978 Chelsea Quinn Yarbro began publishing her series of Count Saint-Germain books, the main character of which is a vampire of moral character whose bite is an erotic experience. In many tales vampires are characterized as promiscuous, their appetite for human blood paralleling their sexual appetite. In 1991 Lori Herter published Obsession, one of the first vampire novels to be categorized as romance rather than science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a television show in which the title character has a star-crossed romance with a vampire, aired from 1997 to 2003. Vampire romances also appeared in the steamy HBO television series True Blood, based on Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse book series. Vampire romance for teens gained popularity at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st, with books such as the Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith and the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. The Twilight Saga, with its high-school romance and vampires that sparkle in the sun rather than bursting into flames, became a cultural sensation, ensuring a vampire trend for years to come. Vampire relationships of a different sort were explored in the novel Låt den rätte komma in (2004 Let the Right One In) by John Ajvide Lindqvist, in which the main characters are a perpetually childlike vampire and a young boy she befriends and helps fend off bullies. The book was adapted for film in Sweden in 2008 and in the United States as Let Me In in 2010.

Vampires also enjoyed popularity as unlikely action heroes. Blade, a half-vampire superhero who first appeared in comic books, was the focus of three films (1998, 2002, 2004). Another popular film series, Underworld (2003, 2006, 2009, 2012), explored an ongoing war between vampires and werewolves. Dracula himself (known instead as “Alucard”—Dracula spelled backward) even became an action hero in the Japanese manga and anime Hellsing. Angel, the vampire with a soul and the love interest of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s title character, became the star of his own spin-off television series in which he acts as a private detective (1999–2004). And the tabletop role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade (first published 1991)—which contributed words such as sire (a vampire’s progenitor) and embrace (the act of making a new vampire) to the vampire lexicon—allowed players to create their own vampire worlds and pit warring vampire factions against one another.

Although vampires had by the 20th century largely become creatures of fantasy, urban myths about vampires continued to persist. As late as the early 20th century, some villages in Bulgaria still practiced corpse impaling. In the 1960s and ’70s a vampire was believed to haunt Highgate Cemetery in London, and in the early 21st century rumours of vampires caused uproar in Malawi and England alike.

Watch the video: Λαογραφία - Ήθη, Έθιμα, Παράδοση (June 2022).


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